Pets and Fleas

 dog and cat scratching at fleas

Fleas are an irritating external parasite that feed on the blood of your pet.  They cause intense irritation and itching. Some pets can even develop allergies to the flea saliva.  One single flea bite can stimulate all over intense pruritis (itchiness). Scratching at the skin causes wounds, bleeding and secondary opportunistic infections.  These secondary infections are usually caused by yeast or bacteria which can also be terribly itchy and painful themselves. If puppies or kittens have a large burden of fleas, the fleas can suck so much blood that the animals are left anaemic.  Sometimes dangerously so. Swallowing fleas is also the way tapeworms are transmitted to both pets and children….

Fleas are usually easy to find on your pet.  Parting the hair at the rump and using a flea comb will show the fast moving insects or the flea dirt that they leave behind.  Flea dirt is the flea faeces (dried blood).  So if you see any evidence of fleas on your pet, flea control must be used. There is no excuse for leaving a pet in distress with an unnecessary flea burden. However, if your pet does not have a flea problem, flea control may not be necessary.

So What Does Bentons Road Vet Clinic Recommend for Fleas?

We believe that there is no one protocol that suits all pets.  Rather, the lifestyle of the pet needs to be considered and the treatment tailored to each individual animal. Indoor only pets will be at much less risk of fleas than outdoor pets.  Animals at higher risk include those that mingle with other animals, regularly go to dog parks or those that live in multi-pet households or breeding pets.  All these pets will have a slightly different requirements for flea control. We recommend regularly examining your dog for evidence of fleas.  If you do find any, then regular protection for several months is needed to eradicate a flea problem. Flea combs are simple to use and available to purchase from us. They will show if a flea burden is present and is best done once a month as a regular surveillance program.

Adult flea populations on your dog or cat make up only 5% of the living environmental flea population. This means that 95%!! of the flea burden is living in your house and garden.   Usually in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae, ready to erupt into a full-blown flea explosion as the weather warms up. Reducing this environmental load is why it takes several consecutive months to adequately treat a flea problem.  Prevention is essential if your dog or cat is regularly exposed to other pets with fleas.

So How Can We Help?

There are many products on the market that treat and prevent flea infestations.  Both spot-on and tablet or chew formulation are available. If you suspect a flea problem on your pet, come in to the clinic or call us now.  Our nurses will be able advise you on the best form of flea control for your pet.  Remember the warmer weather can trigger a population explosion in your home. So it’s best to contact us now before the warmer weather kicks in.

Bentons Road Vet combining Natural Health & Modern Medicine